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EPA move could further drag out American Dream environmental review

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Environmental permitting for the American Dream Meadowlands complex could face a new delay as federal regulators take another look at the project.

The length of the delay was not immediately clear, but a public comment process that was supposed to end last month was effectively extended by the Environmental Protection Agency, an official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said today. The public comment period was expected to clear the way for permitting by the Army Corps, but the EPA requested to have until Aug. 20 for an additional review.

Chris Mallery, chief of the Army Corps' New York District Regulatory Branch's Western Permit Section, could not say what the EPA's additional concerns were, but he acknowledged there could be "a ways to go" before federal permitting issues are resolved.

"The situations we have to resolve in order to get to a permit on this are predominantly with EPA and the other federal resource agencies," Mallery said. "There are not many outstanding issues besides that, particularly in light of the (state Department of Environmental Protection) having issued their permit already."

An EPA spokesman could not immediately say what the agency was still reviewing. But the federal agency has previously expressed concerns about developer Triple Five's plan for remediating a tract of wetlands that would be developed for the massive retail and entertainment project. The agency has also raised concerns about other issues, including whether the project can be reconfigured to minimize the use of fill at the site.

The state DEP gave the project its stamp of approval last month. The project, which requires a final review by the state Sports & Exposition Authority, also has been the target of a lawsuit by the New York Jets and Giants, which have raised concerns over the impact to traffic on game days.

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